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Vol. 1:  On Isolation

Of Empty Streets and Stolen Roses

poem by Priyanka Sacheti

It is dusk: almost just, really.

All day I sat motionless

in a locked, gray, windowless room

but now I am out in the streets,

empty ones though,

desolate beaches

where no one hears

the waves roar.

No children play hide and seek,

the dogs gaze mournfully

from stone-still windows

and even the birds have

gone elsewhere to sing.

The magnolia tree is celebrating

or mourning, it is hard to tell:

its petals are discarded poems

on the empty floor.

The striped roses soundlessly

fall one by one on the cold concrete:

they must have learned that trick

from the snow.

I steal the roses to bring home

and they now lie on my desk,

sleeping princesses in

sepia striped gowns.

There will be a time later,

when they awaken

and I will tell them stories of

empty streets and songless skies

and a weeping magnolia tree.

But for now,

I let them sleep,

the very least I can do

to preserve their sweet oblivion.

A gift I wish I could give myself

and everyone else

but alas not.

I trace the stripes on the petals:

beneath my fingertips,

they are a soft valley of peace.

Priyanka Sacheti is a writer and poet based in Bangalore, India. She grew up in Sultanate of Oman and has previously lived in United Kingdom and United States. She has been published in many publications with a special focus on art, gender, diaspora, and identity. Her literary work has appeared in Barren, The Cabinet of Heed, Popshot, The Lunchticket, and Jaggery Lit as well as various anthologies, the most latest one being, March 2020, a collection of poems written in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. She's currently working on a poetry collection.

She can be found at @atlasofallthatisee on Instagram and @priyankasacheti on Twitter.

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